Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award shortlist revealed

The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award shortlist has been revealed including Yiyun Li’s A Sheltered Woman about a Chinese-American nanny, and Rebecca F. John’s The Glove Maker’s Numbers about how a woman manages her grief.

The other shortlisted writers include Elizabeth McCracken for Hungry, Paula Morris for False River, Scott O’Connor for Interstellar Space and Madeline Thien for The Wedding Cake.

Judge Alex Clark commented: “We loved all the stories on our longlist, so whittling it down was no easy matter and provoked serious and spirited debate. But our final six represent the variety, ambition and invention we encountered throughout the judging process – and they also reflect the continuing health and vitality of this wonderful form.”

All those shortlisted will receive £1,000. The winner of the £30,000 prize will be unveiled at Stationer’s Hall in London on 24 April.

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Adopt a word this Mother’s Day

Guess How Much I Love YouThe children’s charity I CAN is encouraging people to adopt a word for £15 this Mother’s Day. All participants will receive a special limited edition Guess How Much I Love You Adopt a Word certificate, and will be entered into a competition to win one of ten Guess How Much I Love You gift packs.

The money raised will benefit more than 1 million children in the UK with speech and communication difficulties.

Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram’s Guess How Much I Love You is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. It has sold more than 28 million copies in 53 languages worldwide.

Word adoptions can be made from today until 15 March.

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Nick Hornby to adapt Love, Nina for BBC

Nick Hornby, author of How to Be Good, longlisted for the Booker Prize, and Fever Pitch, winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, will be adapting Nina Stibbe’s award-winning Love, Nina for BBC One.

The comical five-part series will tell the story of a teenage girl leaving Leicester to become a nanny in London.

Hornby has previously scripted the adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir An Education, and more recently Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn.

Hornby said: “Love, Nina has already attained the status of a modern classic, and I am so happy that I’ve been given the opportunity to adapt it. We want to make a series that is as charming, funny and delightful as Nina Stibbe’s glorious book.”

Charlotte Moore, BBC One’s Controller, added: “It’s exciting to announce two new voices coming to BBC One. Nick Hornby is one of Britain’s most in demand and talented writers, adapting Nina Stibbe’s bestselling book.”

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New Dick King-Smith website

Illustration for the Dick King-Smith website by Layn Marlow.

Illustration for the Dick King-Smith website by Layn Marlow.

The author of The Queen’s Nose and The Sheep-Pig Dick King-Smith has had his new website featuring animated pictures launched today.

The website has been created by the design agency Multiple States, and illustrated by Layn Marlow (her other works include The Witch with a Twitch, and Too Small for My Bed, winner of the Geoffrey Trease Prize for Children’s Books).

Marlow wrote on her blog: “I could hardly believe it when, a couple of months ago, I was asked if I’d be interested in illustrating the official website for amazing children’s author, Dick King-Smith. Now that, I thought, is right up my street – or perhaps, given Dick’s aversion to towns – in my field.”

King-Smith has written around 130 titles, which have been translated into many languages, and have sold over 15 million copies worldwide. He was voted Children’s Author of the Year at the British Book Awards in 1991, and was made an OBE for services to children’s literature in 2009.

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Chris Haughton contributes to International Book Giving Day

Chris Haughton's International Book Giving Day poster.

Chris Haughton’s International Book Giving Day poster.

Chris Haughton, the illustrator and author behind Oh No, George!, nominated for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and Shh! We Have a Plan, winner of the Irish Book Award, has created this year’s poster for International Book Giving Day.

International Book Giving Day is celebrated every Valentine’s Day, and aims to share the pleasure of reading books. People are encouraged to give a book to a loved one, leave a book in a waiting room for children to read, or donate a book to a library, hospital or shelter.

Bookmarks have also been created by Anna Walker, Kylie Box, Nicky Johnston, Yvonne Mes, and Kelsi Jo Silva, and bookplates by Angus Mackinnon and Gus Gordon.

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New Penguin Little Black Classics series

The 80th anniversary of the first Penguin titles will be celebrated with the launch of 80 Penguin Little Black Classics for just 80p each.

The new series features short, “lyrical and savage” tales, “epic and intimate” poetry, and “satirical and inspirational” essays from around the globe and different centuries.

The first title in the series is Giovanni Boccaccio’s collection of four stories about cuckolded husbands and cross-dressing wives Mrs Rosie and the Priest, and the final book is The Dhammapada filled with such captivating aphorisms as “Hate is not conquered by hate: hate is conquered by love. This is law eternal”.

Other titles include Thomas Hardy’s elegiac poetry Woman Much Missed, Guy de Maupassant’s sparkling tales Femme Fatale, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic novella Olalla.

The Penguin Little Black Classics series will be released on the 26 February.

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Love Words reading campaign

The charity Booktrust and a group of four newspapers Mid-Somerset Series have united to create the Love Words reading campaign to inspire families to read more books.

The fun campaign running until 2 April will include reading lists, advice from writers, short stories, giveaways and a book review competition.

War Horse author Michael Morpurgo will explain his relationship with books as a child, and the writer of Dead Romantic C. J. Skuse will reveal why stories are her best friends.

Children’s stories by the newspapers’ readers will also be published on a weekly basis starting with Rebecca Gryspeerdt’s Anna’s Friend Ferdinand.

Readers are also encouraged to enter the competition to win a great selection of books. Those interested need to pen a book review using 125 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation). There are four age categories (0-5, 6-8, 9-11 and 12-15) each with their own prize. Submissions can be sent by email to Bede MacGowan, the editor of the Somerset newspapers (, or via Twitter (@bedemacgowan). Send the book’s title as a separate tweet, and use the hashtag #LoveWords.

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